Global stocks rise with oil, cyber attack; weak data knocks dollar

May 16, 2017, 07:02
Global stocks rise with oil, cyber attack; weak data knocks dollar

While OPEC ministers will meet May 25 to decide whether to go forward with an extension of their cuts that started January 1, concerns remain about the pace of production growth.

Global benchmark Brent crude settled up 98 cents, or 1.9%, at $51.82 a barrel, having touched $52.63, the highest since 21 April.

Resilient Asian stocks edged up to a two-year high on Monday, shaking off threats from by a ransomware attack that locked some 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries at the weekend, a missile test by North Korea, and weak USA data.

The global "ransomware" cyber attack disrupted factories, hospitals, shops and schools, but spurred investors on Monday to buy stocks set to benefit from higher cyber security spending by firms and government agencies.

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 percent to its highest level since June 2015.

US drillers added nine oil rigs in the week to May 12, bringing the total count up to 712, the most since April 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday. The Canadian dollar hit its highest level in over two weeks against its US counterpart on Monday as oil rose and weaker dollar boosted commodity related Canadian dollar.

"At this level, there isn't too big a correlation between oil and equities but since we've seen oil fall quite a bit in a month or so, today's rally in oil is helping the market grind higher", said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

The Dow increased 85 points to finish the day at 20,981. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.38 percent, due largely to gains in its energy sub-index, which was up 0.9 percent.

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MSCI's emerging markets benchmark also advanced 0.3 percent to a two-year high.

Japan's Nikkei narrowed losses to 0.15 percent.

Prices of other commodities, including copper and aluminium, tracked the moves in oil, National Australia Bank Currency Strategist Rodrigo Catril said in note, adding that this "helped commodity-linked currencies outperform". The Canadian dollar was at its strongest in over two weeks against the greenback. "On the negative side, we think that traders are reading too much into this situation and ... the current production cut has not been able to produce any substantial results so far".

The Korean won weakened, with the dollar up 0.15 percent at 1,124.30 won on Monday. South Korea's KOSPI climbed 0.15 percent. Retail sales volumes rose a seasonally adjusted 1.5 percent in the three months to end-March, data from Statistics New Zealand showed, handily topping analysts' expectations of a 0.9 percent rise. It came after weaker-than-expected US consumer inflation data for April on Friday diminished the view that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates a couple of times for the rest of the year.

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Spot gold added 0.2 percent to $1,230.33 an ounce. In fact, natural gas is up more than 50 percent and most natural gas liquids have doubled in price since dipping under $10/bbl in the first quarter of 2016.

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